I really enjoy cooking Jamie Oliver’s recipes, and with the kids home from university, his recipes offer a youthful approach to family cooking which seems to appeal to their tastes. Dont get me wrong, they still enjoy traditional home cooking, but they also like to try new dishes, just as much as I enjoy experimenting with new flavours, ingredients and techniques. I have used Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals Cookbook several times over the summer break and I am going to post the best three recipes to date, as voted by the family, the first dish being the delicious and extremely attractive Sticky Kicking Chicken. It took longer than 15 minutes the first time I cooked this, but when I made the same dish last weekend it was much quicker, although I have to say I did play around with the order in which I prepared things…apologies Mr Oliver.
Sticky Kicking Chicken with a Watermelon, Radish and Noodle Salad
Prep – 25 mins (unless you have everything ready and close to hand)
200g thin rice noodles
2 little gem lettuces
1 handful of radishes
1/2 a bunch of fresh mint
1/2 bunch of fresh coriander
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 tbsp Chinese five-spice
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Fish Sauce
1/2 – 1 fresh red chilli
1/2 a thumb sized piece of ginger
2 spring onions
1 small clove of garlic
Place the coriander stalks in a small processor or liquidiser along with the soy and fish sauces, peeled ginger, chilli, crushed garlic clove, prepared spring onions, a splash of water, 1 tbsp of sesame oil and the lime juice. Spritz together until the sauce is smooth and then leave to one side until you are ready to dress the salad.
Use a large sheet of greaseproof paper and sprinkle salt, pepper and the five-spice on to it. Open out the thighs and lay them on top of the paper and sprinkle the upper side of the chicken with seasoning and then fold over the paper on top of the chicken. Using a rolling pin bash the chicken to flatten it until it is 1.5cm thick.
Using a large frying pan (I used two pans) add a little olive oil before placing the chicken in the pan. Turn each piece of chicken after 3-4 minutes of cooking and keep repeating this process until the chicken looks charred and is cooked through.
Whilst the chicken is cooking, prepare the salad. I used fresh thin rice noodles for this dish so I simply poured over boiling water to heat them through and then drained them. Drizzle the sesame oil onto a serving platter and toss the noodles in the oil. Slice the watermelon and cut into chunks (these do not need to be uniformed pieces) and add to the platter. Cut the lettuce into wedges, halve the radishes, finely chop the mint and most of the leafy coriander, and scatter over the platter.
Once the chicken is ready, remove the pieces and arrange on a platter or board. Pour away any excess fat, put the pan back on the heat then pour in the sweet chilli sauce and toss with some sesame seeds. Pour the dressing made at the start of this recipe over the salad and toss through the salad and noodles gently, until everything is well coated. Pour the chilli sesame sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with coriander leaves.
This dish is a real crowd pleaser, but for those who do not like chilli you can omit this and use honey for a glaze instead, which my chilli phobic daughter prefers.